Peace At Last
Trip Start Nov 05, 2010
137Trip End Ongoing
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Canakkale is a place of pilgrimage for many Aussies and Kiwis. That is the site of a famous battle of Gallipoli that claimed half a million casualties on both sides. Ironically, the Allies that included Australia and New Zealand lost that battle. Now they are more than welcome back as they provide the source of livelihood for local people. The surrounding area is all peaceful villages, rolling hills with good view of the straits. It is easy to understand how important the straits are strategically. The tanker traffic was continuous and large ships traversed the waterway in both directions all day and all night.
While the collection of trophy cannons from the battle was impressive, the main reason we came to town was seeing the ruins of Troy, a short minibus ride away
When walking around we learned that there were nine cities at the same site over the course of several millenia. Homer's Troy was Troy VI. Unfortunately, the initial excavations caused extensive damage to artifacts and it is impossible to establish whether the city of Priam and Hector ever existed as described in the Iliad. We could see pottery from a much older period. "The wind brought wealth to Troy" - an inscription stated in multiple languages. The reason being the location of the ancient city. It was right at the entrance to the Dardanelles. Before the ancients learned to sail against the wind they needed to wait for a while for favorable conditions. Troy was the place where the sailors waited and spent their money. No wonder there was no shortage of invaders eager to pillage the treasures of that city state.
We were standing at the city walls looking at fields below. The seashore was visible at the distance where the ships of the Achaeans were docked. Homer clearly exaggerated that the Greek Army brought a hundred thousand warriors with them. The field was too small. Sasha imagined Achilles slaying Hector in the field just below. As a child he has been reading many times over the Iliad, abridged, adapted and translated. He was dreaded the pages that describe that duel. He did not Hector to die. He wished he would live a long life with his wife and son.
After thousands of years of fighting, people finally live happily in that part of the world.